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Arch Intern Med. 1988 Feb;148(2):429-33.

Tube feedings in elderly patients. Indications, benefits, and complications.

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Department of Geriatric Medicine, Jewish Institute for Geriatric Care, New Hyde Park, NY 11042.


During an 11-month period, 70 tube-fed patients aged 65 to 95 years were studied prospectively to determine the indications, benefits, and complications of enteral alimentation. Indications for alimentation were refusal to swallow (35 patients [50%], dysphagia without obstruction (33 [47%]), and esophageal obstruction (two [3%]). Nasogastric tubes (NGTs) were used initially in 69 patients; 15 of these subsequently required a gastrostomy tube (GT). One patient was treated initially with a gastrostomy. Indicators of nutritional status included weight, hemoglobin level, hematocrit, and serum albumin level. During the first two weeks the most common problems in the NGT group were agitation and self-extubation (36 patients [67%]) and aspiration pneumonia (23 [43%]). In GT patients the most common early problems were aspiration pneumonia (nine patients [56%]), tube dysfunction (eight [50%]), and agitation and extubation (seven [44%]). The common late problems were aspiration pneumonia (24 patients [44%] in the NGT group and nine [56%] in the GT group), and feeding tube dysfunction in six (38%) of the GT group. Self-extubation as a late problem was limited to the NGT group (21 patients [39%]). Twenty-eight (40%) of the 70 patients died during the study period.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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